Russia deploys military fighter aircraft to Libya

U.S. Africa Command assesses that Moscow recently deployed military fighter aircraft to Libya in order to support Russian state-sponsored private military contractors operating on the ground there.



By U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs United States Africa Command Stuttgart, Germany May 26, 2020
View Gallery
fallback
Gallery contains 1 image

U.S. Africa Command assesses that Moscow recently deployed military fighter aircraft to Libya in order to support Russian state-sponsored private military contractors (PMCs) operating on the ground there.

Russian military aircraft are likely to provide close air support and offensive fires for the Wagner Group PMC that is supporting the Libyan National Army's (LNA) fight against the internationally recognized Government of National Accord. The Russian fighter aircraft arrived in Libya, from an airbase in Russia, after transiting Syria where it is assessed they were repainted to camouflage their Russian origin. 

"Russia is clearly trying to tip the scales in its favor in Libya. Just like I saw them doing in Syria, they are expanding their military footprint in Africa using government-supported mercenary groups like Wagner," said U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander, U.S. Africa Command. "For too long, Russia has denied the full extent of its involvement in the ongoing Libyan conflict. Well, there is no denying it now. We watched as Russia flew fourth generation jet fighters to Libya -- every step of the way. Neither the LNA nor private military companies can arm, operate and sustain these fighters without state support -- support they are getting from Russia."

Russia has employed state-sponsored Wagner in Libya to conceal its direct role and to afford Moscow plausible deniability of its malign actions. U.S. Africa Command assesses Moscow's military actions have prolonged the Libyan conflict and exacerbated casualties and human suffering on both sides. 

“The world heard Mr. Haftar declare he was about to unleash a new air campaign. That will be Russian mercenary pilots flying Russian-supplied aircraft to bomb Libyans,” Townsend said. 

U.S. Africa Command assesses that Russia is not interested in what is best for the Libyan people but are working to achieve their own strategic goals instead.

"If Russia seizes basing on Libya's coast, the next logical step is they deploy permanent long-range anti-access area denial (A2AD) capabilities," said U.S. Air Force Gen. Jeff Harrigian, commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa. "If that day comes, it will create very real security concerns on Europe's southern flank." 

Russia’s destabilizing actions in Libya will also exacerbate the regional instability that has driven the migration crisis affecting Europe.

Editor’s Note: Imagery of the Russian aircraft can be found at: https://go.usa.gov/xwaSf  

 

More in Media Room
Joint Statement from the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of National Defense of the Republic of Niger
The effective cooperation and communication between the U.S. and Nigerien armed forces ensured that this turnover was finished ahead of schedule and without any complications.
Read more
"Stronger Together": U.S. and Congolese Bands Unite for Joint Tour in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire
This initiative marks the 64th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Republic of the Congo, highlighting both nations' commitment to peace, cultural exchange, and mutual understanding.
Read more
United States turns over C-130H to Botswana Defence Force
U.S. Ambassador Howard A. Van Vranken, U.S. Ambassador to Botswana, and U.S. Marine Corps, Gen. Michael Langley, Commander, U.S. Africa Command, participated in the official transfer of a former U.S. military C-130 Hercules aircraft to the Botswana Defence Force in a significant step towards enhancing Botswana's defense capabilities.
Read more
More in Media Room
Joint Statement from the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of National Defense of the Republic of Niger
The effective cooperation and communication between the U.S. and Nigerien armed forces ensured that this turnover was finished ahead of schedule and without any complications.
Read more
"Stronger Together": U.S. and Congolese Bands Unite for Joint Tour in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire
This initiative marks the 64th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Republic of the Congo, highlighting both nations' commitment to peace, cultural exchange, and mutual understanding.
Read more
United States turns over C-130H to Botswana Defence Force
U.S. Ambassador Howard A. Van Vranken, U.S. Ambassador to Botswana, and U.S. Marine Corps, Gen. Michael Langley, Commander, U.S. Africa Command, participated in the official transfer of a former U.S. military C-130 Hercules aircraft to the Botswana Defence Force in a significant step towards enhancing Botswana's defense capabilities.
Read more
More in Media Room
Joint Statement from the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of National Defense of the Republic of Niger
The effective cooperation and communication between the U.S. and Nigerien armed forces ensured that this turnover was finished ahead of schedule and without any complications.
Read more
"Stronger Together": U.S. and Congolese Bands Unite for Joint Tour in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire
This initiative marks the 64th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Republic of the Congo, highlighting both nations' commitment to peace, cultural exchange, and mutual understanding.
Read more
United States turns over C-130H to Botswana Defence Force
U.S. Ambassador Howard A. Van Vranken, U.S. Ambassador to Botswana, and U.S. Marine Corps, Gen. Michael Langley, Commander, U.S. Africa Command, participated in the official transfer of a former U.S. military C-130 Hercules aircraft to the Botswana Defence Force in a significant step towards enhancing Botswana's defense capabilities.
Read more